Over the last ten days or so, I've been comparing how this 2012 season is playing out in comparison to the season the 1992 Pirates had. It's partly out of curiosity, but it's partly because I'm curious to see how a team's record unfolds over an actual honest-to-goodness good baseball season, since that's not something that I've experienced in any sort of real capacity in my life.
What I thought was interesting was that the '92 Bucs had quite a few stretches of mediocre baseball, punctuated with long winning streaks. They were 50-39 on July 16, but only 53-48 on July 30th. From there they sprinted off 12 wins in a row. From when that streak ended (August 11), the played about .500 ball until August 29th, when they rolled off a seven-game winning streak. They played about .500 ball again from September 6th until September 17th, then won 11 of 13 to finally put the division out of reach.
I'm mentioning this because right now, the Pirates are only a five-game winning streak and they have ten games against the Cubs and Astros coming up. This is the part of the season where this Pirate team needs to just pile up win after win after win with no concern or regard for what the Reds or Braves or Dodgers or Cardinals or anyone else is doing. Put the wins in the bank now, figure everything else out when it happens. I don't mean to imply that the Pirates need 10 wins where, but seven would give the Pirates a 12-3 run headed into their series with the Reds on August 3rd.
Tonight, Erik Bedard tries to build off a strong start in his last outing. Jeff Samardzija goes for the Cubs. The first pitch is at 7:05.
I think the schedule will play a crucial role in the Pirates' playoff chances heading into the final two months. You're absolutely right, it's not about scoreboard watching during these stretches. It's all about piling up the W's against Chicago and Houston. That's interesting how the '92 Bucs would play .500 then have a winning streak, followed by a stretch of .500 and another winning streak. In my new blog, following the "new" season ticket holder experience at PNC -- "new" meaning a whole different fan experience watching meaningful games in July-August-Sept as compared to the Pierogi Race and Skyblast experience of the last decade or so -- I kind of predicted just a whole bunch of .500 baseball the rest of the way, leaving the Pirates somewhere around 86-88 wins.... http://seasonticketsbaby.blogspot.com/2012/07/second-half-schedule-helping-or-hurting.html
Too bad ol' Eyechart isn't around anymore. Mientkiewicz facing down Samardzija would've been something to tell the grandkids about. Like that time Josh Scobee kicked off to Josh Scobey.